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Title:Gathering in the Far Field: The Aesthetics of Contemporary Midwest Regionalism in Theodore Roethke, Robert Bly, and James Wright
Author(s):Kalaidjian, Walter Barron
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:Roethke's aesthetic commitment to the American landscape becomes a model for both Robert Bly's pastoral meditations on rural Minnesota and James Wright's local depiction of the Ohio River Valley. Each poet chooses Midwest Regionalism as part of a struggle with the overshadowing influence of High Modernism and New Critical theory. Their colloquial style and confessional themes grow directly out of this antagonism toward the ironic and impersonal rhetoric of their literary precursors: Eliot, Pound, Yeats, and the later Fugitive Poets. In rejecting the poetic norms of Modernism, these Post-Modern writers acknowledge their affinity with Whitman and his frank celebrations of self. They use Whitman's expanded line and anaphoric catalogues to portray their subjective encounters with native place. Roethke's revival of Whitman is a significant Post-Modern choice which both confirms Williams's rejection of the European tradition and advances beyond his objective aesthetic toward a more subjective lyricism. Roethke's reliance on local vernacular informs Bly's and Wright's choice of an authentic Midwest idiom. Pastoral surrealism provides Roethke, Bly, and Wright with a literary form which subverts the more meditative and formal discourse of the High Modernists. Moreover, Roethke's use of surrealism to dramatize his poetry of individuation is a stylistic forerunner to Bly's and Wright's surrealistic presentation of the "deep" imagery of the unconscious. All three poets explore the "emotive imagination" to enact the self's deep communion with the natural world.
Issue Date:1982
Description:218 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8218493
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982

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